We spend Christmas Eve with my family. This year, my aunt and uncle from Spain are visiting with their three kids. We gathered at my brother’s house and enjoyed “choripan“- Argentinian sausage in French bread. My brother made the sausage from scratch- you know everyone clapped for the cook!
After dinner, the kids get into their matching pajamas and open gifts. We drew names for the kids and it was fun to see them give each other the things they picked out.
Before you think that my family participates in a normal gift giving tradition, please know that as each child receives his or her gift, everyone is chanting their name and hooping and hollering, as if they were about to finish a marathon. The little ones dance with delight, even if they have no idea what’s going on.
The older ones are starting to slightly roll their eyes, but they cannot hide their smiles.
The adults also draw names, and while the kids play with their presents, we exchange gifts. Youngest to oldest, the giver gets their gift and everyone guesses who’s name they had. It is tradition to make the giving of your gift as suspenseful as possible, slowly walking around the room, and faking out as many people as you can. When the gift finally lands on the correct person, there is cheering and more chanting.
It’s craziness. But so normal to my kids. And so revealing of the way that my family is… over the top, exploding, unrelenting love.
This year we set a $20 limit, and everyone received simple, really thoughtful gifts. The evening usually lasts until the wee hours, kids crashing all over the house as the grown ups tell stories and laugh, but my clan headed out early, soon after the gift giving, because we had special Christmas day plans…